If you’ve been in business long enough, you’ve likely heard of an “elevator pitch”. For the younger generation reading this … think of an elevator pitch as the face-to-face equivalent of the 150-characters you get in your Instagram bio to explain who you are and what you do. If you had only a few minutes to pitch yourself, your business, or your next big idea … what would you say? And, quickly!

At this point in my business life, I’ve been around the block a few times. I’ve heard countless elevator pitches. Countless technology ideas. Countless new businesses that are “set to revolutionize the space”. And — let me tell you — it’s the people who have really perfected the elevator pitch that are able to capture the attention and focus of today’s always-on-the-go generation.

That being said, here are a few of my tips for perfecting your personal elevator pitch …

#1. It’s “game over” after 30-seconds

All jokes aside. I want you to stand in the mirror and practice saying who you are and what you do in less than 30-seconds. For real. Consider your Instagram bio, your LinkedIn headline. What are the very most important traits about you and what you do?

Practice it and tweak it until you can’t possibly forget it.

Our on-demand world has made our attention spans shorter and you’ve got to be able to give a clear and unique elevator pitch that is succinct enough to spark attention in a matter of seconds. You’ve probably got 30-seconds before it’s game over.  

#2. Lead with your value

In my opinion, business is all about being able to help someone. That’s first and foremost — before sales, marketing, etc. It’s how what you do can help someone else.

Now that you’ve practiced your 30-second pitch, I want you to consider some statements that can help the person you’re speaking to realize how you’re valuable to them. What specific ways will you be able to help them? This isn’t about selling a product or landing a big contract — this is about being genuine and wanting to use your talents to help someone else.

#3. Consider what makes you memorable

Any good elevator pitch should be memorable — that’s the goal after all: the be remembered. When crafting your pitch, be sure you’re adding little tidbits that will stand out. A statistic? A unique experience? Why will they remember you?

#4. Be ready with a business card

It goes without saying, but I think it’s an important reminder. Have business cards ready. Don’t get caught having to jot your Instagram handle on a napkin or your cell phone number in an impromptu text message. Always. Be. Ready.

… But, here’s the real deal ...

Do we really need an elevator pitch at all?

If we’re constantly being genuine with our interactions and with our networking — and we’re always trying to leave people with something of value — why do we need the pitch? Sure, people want to know who you are, what you’re focused on, etc. but, when your intentions for the conversation are to get something or sell something, it’s not always genuine.

Practicing your pitch will, no doubt, help you feel more confident and polished when talking about yourself and your business. But, when you speak from the heart and when you’re truly looking for opportunities to make a connection via ways you can help or provide value — those are the “pitches” that build a robust and powerful network.